What's Cookin' with 621?

By Harry Watson

For 20 years Chartwells dining has catered to the students of Salem State University. Chartwell’s aim has always been to provide students with a variety of options. As of last year Chartwells has introduced several new programs and events such as dietary programs and an Oscar Night dinner theme event. However on March 8th freshman Austin Wuebker lodged a complaint towards Chartwells on the Salem State University class of 2020 Facebook page. Wuebker writes “ the students are fed up with the inconsistency and lack of management president and demand that changes taken (made).” Since its emergence the post has gained 148 reactions on Facebook as well as 58 comments. On March 24 WMWM Salem DJ Tal Rimoni, sophomore, asked several Chartwells staff members to come talk on his show 621. These members included John Hayes (Resident District Manager), George Lua (North Dining Director), Jim Caldarelli ( Catering Director), Alton Jackson (Director of Marsh Dining) and Tess Brady (Assistant Director of Marsh Dining)

One of the main concerns brought up by students was the inconsistency of the quality of food between March Dining and North Dining. Hayes stated “The difference is the sheer volume of people and the equipment that were working with. At North campus we typically see between 300 to 400 people. Down at Marsh Dining, we get anywhere between 700 to 1000 kids.” This shows why students might receive better food at North campus as opposed to Marsh.

One question Tal had for Tess Brady, a Salem State Alum, was about how Chartwells has improved over the past two years since she has graduated. Brady stated that Chartwells has implemented two new programs to cater to students with dietary needs: “The Rooted Program”, which services students who are vegetarian/vegan and the “G8” program which is designed for students with digestive food allergies such as Celiac disease. These programs make it easier for students to be accommodated and find options more suited for their needs. Chartwells also offers healthier food options via its salad bar and makes an effort to provide food for those not wanting to endure the “Freshman Fifteen”

When asked about the Class of 2020 Facebook post, Hayes had the following response, “We’re not perfect, we serve about 8,000 meals per day. I think this whole thing kind of just snowballed.” Hayes also stated that when it comes to voicing their concerns,  “a lot of younger college students, they don’t say anything.” Chartwells measures its student satisfaction rate through a system called “HAPPY or NOT,” a system in which only a minimal amount of students take advantage of. They also have an “If you don’t see it, ASK” policy, in which students are allowed to make requests for food they want on the menu. The last thing Chartwells wants the students of SSU to know is that they care about how students feel and are doing everything they to listen to their students requests.

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